SO THRILLED to share with you one of the most beautiful couples and weddings we’ve been blessed to capture <3
Their story and wedding day deeply touched our hearts.
Introducing the Monarch Beach Resort and Five Star Weddings event of Mirei and Ben!
how they met (from the bride)
Going to business school is like going back to college all over again – but with more like-minded people who also happen to enjoy socializing. In other words, a lot of people are there to learn about bottom lines, get a degree, and to party. Let’s be honest – it’s a great environment for single people, especially if you are new to the area.
Ben and I both moved to LA to attend UCLA Anderson, and happened to be in the same section (there were 5 sections in each class) – Section A! In the first year of business school, you are basically married to the people who are in your section. You take all of your classes together and spend countless hours doing group assignments together. In addition to that, there are activities and events happening almost every day of the week. So, when you are not working on homework, you are more likely than not out partying with your classmates.
I think the first time I really noticed Ben was when we did individual presentations to introduce ourselves. Most of our classmates’ presentations were light and funny. Ben’s presentation? Let’s just say that it was significantly more serious in tone. Looking back, I can imagine Ben preparing for the presentation very deliberately and meticulously. At that time, my impression was that he was a very serious and focused individual. Which he is… he is famous for reading financial statements by the pool during one of our section’s Vegas trips, after all!
The first time we interacted was the night of the school-sponsored 80’s-themed party during orientation week. He came up to me and asked why I wasn’t coming to more events. I responded that since I didn’t have a car, it was hard for me to make it to everything. He then announced that he had a car and would be happy to drive me around–so I should give him my number! I was a little surprised, since we barely knew each other. Apparently, he had been strategizing on how to approach me…
True to form, he sent me a long, deliberate text after the party, saying how much he had enjoyed spending time with me, and that he wanted to take me out to dinner. Again, I was surprised, since we had barely interacted during the party, even though he was “hovering” the entire night (see picture). My friends joked about how he was acting as my bodyguard.
During the first quarter, there were a lot of subjects that I was not familiar with at all, such as accounting and finance . Ben, being the kind, generous person that he is, offered–on multiple occasions–that he would be more than happy to help me with homework. I was hesitant at first to accept his help, but eventually succumbed to his insistence (a common theme during the early days). As we spent more and more time together, I realized that he was one of the nicest people I had ever met. He was also a great listener. He surprised me in so many ways, since he was not your typical business school guy who likes attention, to maximize benefits, and to party. He was so much more mature and responsible than were the rest of us.
I am so fortunate that he was always there, hovering around to make sure that I was ok, and that I had everything I needed. He has always been there for me, through thick and thin, and is the best partner anyone could ever ask for. Thank you for being my hoverer!
romantic proposal (from the groom)
The most memorable proposal is the one she never expects. The setup was just about perfect to achieve the maximum surprise. But, of course nothing ever goes precisely to plan. Let me set the scene: we were in Texas together for the first time–San Antonio to be exact. I was there on a business trip and I had asked her come along with me. I have spent a fair amount of time in San Antonio because that is where my grandparents lived. In fact, I have so many great childhood memories of spending Thanksgivings with my mom’s family in San Antonio that I really wanted to explore the city–as an adult–with Mirei. I thought it was an innocuous enough story not to raise any suspicions about what was to come.
Even more importantly, Mirei had never met my grandmother or any of my mom’s siblings. There was a fair amount of urgency because, unfortunately, my grandmother was not well and I didn’t know how many more opportunities I would have to introduce her to Mirei. There was also another connection: I was planning to propose to Mirei with my grandmother’s engagement ring. But Mirei didn’t know that. In reality, she didn’t even know I had a ring.
The last remaining question was, where to perform the actual proposal. This was something I thought long and hard about. Mirei and I don’t love crowded places and I wanted to do it in private, if possible. After a futile attempt to search the internet for a romantic place to propose, I finally settled on the River Walk. For anyone who has not visited San Antonio, there is a beautiful downtown area that is full of cute stores, cool bars and nice restaurants, with a river running through it. It is a perfect place for a romantic evening stroll and my hope was that it would be empty enough later at night for us to have some privacy. So, the plan was to have a late dinner, check out the view from the Tower of the Americas, and then head to the River Walk. I even had a nice wine bar picked out in case I needed to buy more time.
And then my scheme was foiled because of a basketball game. You see, the San Antonio Spurs were in the NBA Finals in 2014 and on the day of the planned proposal, they were one win away from the championship. I (not so) secretly was hoping that the Spurs would lose because I knew that the area around the River Walk would be a madhouse if the Spurs won, with fans celebrating deep into the night. Well, that is exactly what happened. When we left dinner there were people EVERYWHERE. Even the wine bar was packed with rowdy Spurs fans. Not a very romantic setting. Suffice to say, I was distraught.
So I improvised. I suggested that we go back to the hotel for a drink so that we could escape the crowd. Then, around 1am, I suggested that we take a stroll down the River Walk. I had no idea if we were going to have a chance to be alone but I decided to risk it. My guess is that Mirei was a little confused. I am not usually that spontaneous—or spontaneous at all for that matter. So, we started walking. And then we walked some more. Finally, I saw a clearing—no one in sight in either direction. Honestly, I can’t even remember what I said. All I know was that I was nervous and anxious. Nervous that we would be interrupted; worried that this was not her dream proposal; and afraid that her answer wouldn’t be what I was looking for. Fortunately, at least in the moment she didn’t hold it against me that I fumbled around for the ring. In hindsight I still think she was so surprised and confused that she didn’t know what else to say but “yes.” But she did and I feel so lucky to be planning a wedding and the rest of my life with her.
the wedding day
Mirei was surrounded by such gorgeous details!
Love those Jimmy Choos.
Her stunning engagement ring
And look at that amazing clutch!
Her picture perfect nails
Her gorgeous bouquet from Fantasy Floral!
Madly in love with her gorgeous Kenneth Pool Amsale gown.
Her first moments as a bride on her wedding day with her mother and father
Ben and Mirei’s breathtaking first look at the grand staircase of the Monarch Beach Resort
The beautiful bridal party
Isn’t this girl incredibly adorable?!
And their awesome furbaby ringbearer, Mugi <3
You two are such a gorgeous couple.
The sunset was absolutely stunning at their ceremony at the Botanical Gardens at the Monarch Beach Resort.
Incredible romantics along their private beach
And their stunning intimate wedding reception at Club 19
The evening was filled with one of the most beautifully emotional receptions we’ve ever seen. It was a celebration of love at every moment.
They played Andy Grammer’s Honey, I’m Good and had all their guests who were couples write down and celebrate how long they’d all been together! SOOO adorable!
It was truly an amazing unforgettable night.
the heartwarming same day edit film
We’d like to invite you to view their emotional tearjerker Same Day Edit film that filled the bride and their guests with tears!
Mirei and Ben, we feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to celebrate you both and meet your loved ones and learn of your love story. It was an unforgettable night for us. And we loved every moment. May you both be richly blessed in your future and love together <3
With all our love,
The DPARK Family
dana point wedding vendors
- photo | D. Park Photography + Associate Adam
- film | D. Park Photography
- venue | Monarch Beach Resort
- planner | Laurie of Five Star Weddings
- officiant | Casey of OC Wedding Vows
- mc/band | Soul Tones
- florist | Fantasy Floral Designs
- hair/makeup | Design Visage
- cake | Monarch Beach Resort
- caterer | Four Seasons Catering
- draping/chandeliers | OC Audio Visual Solutions
- invitations | Wedding Paper Divas
- ceremony gown | Custom Couture gown by Kenneth Pool Amsale
- reception gown | Adrianna Papell
- shoes | Jimmy Choo
- headpiece/rings | custom
- bracelet | Swarovski
- bridesmaids gowns | BHLDN
- groomsmen tuxes | The Black Tux
- colors | coral, aqua, turquoise